Unveiled in June 2018, the new 31st-floor Observation Deck atop the CEB Tower in Rosslyn, Va., the tallest building inside the Beltway, is now the highest public space in the metropolitan D.C. area.
Designed by Legends, the firm behind projects including One World Observatory in New York City and OUE Skyspace in Los Angeles, the 12,000-square-foot space includes a private event venue for 250, open-air terrace and cafe.
“The Observation Deck at CEB Tower is the newest must-see destination for visitors to Arlington and the Capital Region,” said Emily Cassell, director of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service. “The venue’s one-of-a-kind views are sure to make it a favorite experience for groups and visitors from around the world.”
Enhanced by the Windows Into History exhibition of the stories of landmarks, people and events told through interactive holographic technology, those unobstructed 360-degree panoramas stretch as far away as distant MGM National Harbor in Maryland. Providing a remarkable portrait of the metro D.C. landscape, these views vividly showcase defining American landmarks.
With stirring sights that include the Potomac River, National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington Monument, Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, it’s an exciting map of the destination’s preeminence as a place where important decisions are made.
Frequented by diplomats, cabinet members, presidents and Fortune 500 executives, The Jefferson has been an elite seat since 1923, when it opened as a luxury residential building before its hotel transformation in 1955.
Four blocks from the White House, this 99-room five-star retreat’s six meeting rooms include the 80-capacity Gallatin Room, after Albert Gallatin, Thomas Jefferson’s close friend and Secretary of the Treasury. Jefferson’s tastes for literature and wine are reflected in the 30-person Book Room and 20-guest Private Cellar, the latter serving custom tasting menus from the hotel’s Michelin-starred Plume restaurant. And the East & West Jefferson Cabinets are private nooks for discrete and confidential conversations.
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Founded in D.C. in 1927, Marriott International today is the world’s largest hotel operator. Group-capable crown jewels in the company’s 160-plus metro D.C. collection include the 317-room W Washington. Originally Hotel Washington (1918), this boutique upgrade opened in 2009. Groups have 6,000 square feet of space, including POV Lounge, an unbeatable perch overlooking the White House and Washington Monument. Modern flagships include the luxurious JW Marriott Washington, D.C., with 755 newly redesigned rooms and 37,000-plus square feet of newly renovated function space.
Legend holds that the term “lobbyist” originated from the favor-seekers who petitioned and pestered President Ulysses S. Grant in the lobby of the Willard Hotel (1818). True or not, it’s just one calling card at the landmark 335-room InterContinental Hotels property, where 22,000 square feet of group space includes three elegant ballrooms among 19 meeting rooms. Hosting nearly every U.S. president since 1853, the Willard is also where Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King finished his I Have a Dream speech.
Other storied addresses include the 145-room Hay-Adams Hotel. Opened in 1928, the hotel’s Top of the Hay event venue features a wraparound outdoor terrace with prime White House views, plus five skylighted dining rooms named for the first four U.S. presidents and Abraham Lincoln.
Group outlets abound across D.C. and Northern Virginia for plugging into the power grid.
Comprising 17 Capital Region museums and galleries, along with the event-capable National Zoo (1889), the venues of the Smithsonian Institution, free to visit in perpetuity, shine as one of America’s greatest gifts. Forming the world’s largest museum-research campus, the venues, 11 lining the National Mall, are ready-made for group experiences.
Requiring a “substantial unrestricted donation,” most co-host after-hours events, with favorites including the National Museum of Natural History and National Air and Space Museum.
Meeting spaces at the preeminent new National Museum of African American History and Culture include the 350-seat Oprah Winfrey Theater. For self-guided or docent-led tours, top choices include the Renwick Gallery, currently exhibiting mesmerizing artworks from the world of Burning Man, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.
Non-Smithsonian cultural and heritage treasures hosting events include the National Building Museum, formerly the Pension Building, where Civil War veterans drew their checks. Spaces at the 1932 Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill include the Elizabethan Theatre and book-lined Old Reading Room. Prime outdoor perches include the Kennedy Center’s Roof Terrace, while the Newseum’s 7th- and 8th-floor Knight Conference Center offers dramatic views of the U.S. Capitol.
Comprising a circa-1785 tavern and the 1792 City Hotel, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum in Old Town Alexandria (1749) features the colonial ballroom where George Washington and Thomas Jefferson once socialized and danced. On Alexandria’s Potomac waterfront, the industrial-chic Torpedo Factory Art Center (TFAC) was originally a WWI torpedo factory. Converted into artist studios in 1974, TFAC today offers a compelling canvas for decorous events.
And for tours and events, few venues are more impactful than George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Amid rolling fields, gardens and orchards, George and Martha Washington’s estate on the banks of the Potomac is as iconic as it gets for group outings.
WASHINGTON D.C. METRO CVB CONTACT INFORMATION
Arlington Convention and Visitors Service